With the COVID-19 outbreak wreaking havoc on the 2020 motorcycle racing season and the global economy, the Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP's rule-making body, have announced a raft of measures aimed at cutting costs.
The most significant change, already widely trailed, is that development of engines and aerodynamics is to be frozen for the rest of this year. What that means in practice is that all six MotoGP factories (Aprilia, Ducati, Honda, KTM, Suzuki, and Yamaha) will have to race in 2020 with the engines they submitted for homologation in March of this year. Normally, concession factories (Aprilia and KTM) would be allowed to develop their engines during the season, but to cut costs, that development has been banned for this season.
In addition, the GPC agreed that the MotoGP manufacturers without concessions (Ducati, Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha) will have to start the 2021 MotoGP season with their 2020 engines. This means that their engine designs will remain unchanged for any races which may occur in 2020, and for all of the 2021 season.
In terms of aerodynamics, all factories will have to use the aero package homologated for use in March for the 2020 season, and start the 2021 season with that package. They will then be allowed one upgrade for the 2021 season, as normal.
The Grand Prix Commission have imposed even greater restrictions on the Moto2 and Moto3 classes. All development is frozen for those classes in both 2020 and 2021. Given the much smaller budgets for the Moto2 and Moto3 teams, and the involvement of small manufacturers such as Kalex, Speed Up, and NTS in Moto2, that makes much more sense.
Additionally, the Grand Prix Commission banned in Moto2 and Moto3 the ride-height altering devices from which are just now starting to appear in MotoGP. Since the switch to Moto2 and Moto3, those classes have been regarded as steps on the ladder toward MotoGP, and so technical restrictions have been put in place to put the focus on rider development rather than technology. Banning ride-height altering devices - which would include the holeshot devices used by most MotoGP manufacturers now - makes sense in this context. This ban extends indefinitely, and is not limited to either 2020 or 2021.
The press release containing the revised rules for 2020 and 2021 appears below:
FIM Grand Prix World Championship
Decision of the Grand Prix Commission
The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Paul Duparc (FIM), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Jorge Viegas (FIM President), Corrado Cecchinelli (Director of Technology) Carlos Ezpeleta (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in an electronic meeting held on 15th April 2020, made the following decisions:
In view of the Covid-19 global crisis, and following various conversations with manufacturers and teams in all classes, the GPC has approved the following technical proposals.
These are all aimed at reducing costs globally in all three classes for both manufacturers and teams, whilst maintaining fairness and equality in order to conserve both the entertainment value of the sport and the integrity of the competition.
Currently, all manufacturers that don’t qualify for concessions have to homologate an engine specification for the whole season. Manufacturers are allowed to homologate a different specification for riders in Independent teams.
Until now, manufacturers with concessions didn’t have this limitation and could change specification during the year.
In addition, all manufacturers were allowed two aero body designs per rider per season; the one they started with at Qatar plus one upgrade.
The GPC has approved the following changes, effective immediately:
There will be no update of any homologated parts during the 2020 season. This applies to all manufacturers, both Non-Concession and Concession.
Both Non-Concession and Concession manufacturers must start the 2021 season using March 2020 homologated parts. Thereafter, normal upgrade regulations will apply for the rest of the 2021 season as per current regulations meaning no engine evolution for non-concession manufacturers and only one aero-body update per rider for all manufacturers.
For the first event of 2021 riders will be allowed to choose between any engine or aero-body specification that the manufacturer homologated in 2020.
The organisers supply all Moto2 Class riders with equal Triumph 765cc engines.
Until now, the only limitation in terms of allocations of technical parts was the allowance of one upgrade to the Aero Body per manufacturer.
The GPC has approved the following changes, effective immediately:
The current 2020 Aero Bodies as homologated by the chassis manufacturers at the 2020 Qatar GP, plus any version homologated in 2019, will be frozen until the end of the 2021 season. No further upgrades are permitted.
FRAME AND SWINGARM:
Each chassis manufacturer may submit any current or previously used frame or swingarm for homologation. These designs will be frozen until the end of the 2021 season, with no further specifications permitted.
Each Team will then be required to declare a maximum of 2 specifications of frame and swingarm per rider from their chassis manufacturer homologation list. Any replacement or substitute rider will be required to use only the declared parts for the rider they are replacing.
Currently in the Moto3 class, the manufacturers must provide all their riders with the same full bike.
Until now, riders were allowed to choose 2 gear ratios per season.
The GPC has approved the following changes effective immediately:
Bike specification, as declared by each manufacturer at the Qatar GP 2020, will be frozen for the 2020 and the 2021 seasons, meaning no further upgrades will be permitted on any listed performance parts, chassis, swingarm, engine, aero body, gearbox or throttle body.
The GPC has also approved the number of engines each rider is allowed to use with respect to possible revised calendars for both 2020 and 2021. These will be published within the revised regulations.
MOTO2 AND MOTO3 CLASSES:
RIDE HEIGHT DEVICES BANNED
Ride height devices, to aid the rider during the start of the race, are permitted within the current rules for MotoGP. However, due to possible high development cost that these devices could require, it is felt that this technology does not fit within the ethos of both Moto3 and Moto2 of a cost-effective championship. Therefore, the such technology is banned for these two categories, with immediate effect.
The use of any device that modifies or adjusts the motorcycle’s ride height while it is moving is forbidden.